Shooting from the hip

Self Care is Health Care

29th Aug 2018
Self Care is Health Care

During my 15 years working within the incredible spa industry, I’ve had the absolute privilege of going out and meeting many spa directors, managers and therapists; fantastic people with the passion and desire to help people be well.


But there’s an issue I see again and again. You lovely folk who spend so much time focusing on the health and wellbeing of others don’t care enough about yourselves. People in this industry, people who it’s a pleasure to know, work excessively long hours, don’t give themselves a break, don’t eat healthily and give masses of their energy to others in order to achieve their objectives but never take the time to ‘care for the carer’.

People in this industry never take the time to care for the carer


The spa industry is quite simply knackered! Now as many of you will know I absolutely love giving out hugs, but in this instance hugs simply aren’t enough. Please can you start to look after yourselves?


My career started 36 years ago in hospitality; an industry where you’re intrinsic to people’s happiness and enjoyment of their experience in your hotel, restaurant or bar. And an industry where working long hours is a given. The same applies to the spa industry; the leaders in this sphere give so much to ensure people leave their spa or salon feeling uplifted, energised, relaxed and well, but do not apply the same care and attention to themselves, nor sometimes their teams.

It’s no wonder there is a recruitment crisis – why would anyone want to work eight hours a day, often with just five minutes to get ready for the next treatment and hardly any time to eat, drink or rest?


It’s no wonder there is a recruitment crisis within the wellness industry. Why would anyone want to work eight hours plus a day, often with just five minutes to get ready for the next treatment and hardly any time to eat, drink or rest? This needs to change and it needs to come from the top. We have to lead by example and walk the walk, not just talk the talk.


At last year’s SpaFest it was inspiring to hear spa directors, managers and owners talking about changes they’re making, like better relaxation/rest rooms for teams and access to decent food. Many spa operators are recognising that the health of their team is crucial for recruitment and staff retention. The challenge for the spa industry is that our reputation in the workplace needs to change (and change quickly) to attract more people to train in the wellness and spa world.

We offer fantastic opportunities. Global statistics and forward-looking trend reports clearly show that wellness and health will dominate in terms of growth. Providing a space to have peace and quiet, to ‘catch the breath’, connect with nature and simply be a human being are essential. For our customers, our staff and for us too.


It took me a long time to really appreciate that when you look after yourself, life gets better and your performance improves (not to mention your relationships with your family and the people you love). A breast cancer scare in 2009 was my wake-up call; life is a gift. So, because you are loved, please think about your own wellness and that of the people you work with. When you are well, they are well. Be sure to do something you love every day; something that makes you leap out of bed in the morning with purpose because that’s what life is all about.


About the Author:

Managing Director at Made for Life Organics, Amanda Barlow created The Made for Life Foundation in 2008, a charity which centres on wellbeing for people going through cancer. She’s launched Cancer Touch Therapy training into spas across the UK and runs the SpaFest gathering for the wellness industry

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